Seattle is located in Washington State, about as far away from Washington, DC as is humanly possible. But, because the word Washington sounds an awful lot like the word Washington, there are a lot of tourists who ask the DC Visitors Center how far they are from the Pacific Ocean (3000 miles). And there are tourists in Seattle who ask how far the US Capitol is (2328 miles) and where the Washington Monument is (in Washington, DC). For those people who are still a little confused, here are some hints to help you know the difference:
1. Thanks, Indigenous People. Sort of.: The great city of Seattle is named after a Suamish chief named Si’ahl (or several other things that didn’t sound anything like Seattle.) But, given that the early settlers could have chosen a name like Starbuckia, this was a real coup for the native (and soon to be invisible) population. Washington DC is on the banks of the Potomac River. “Potomac” is a corruption of an Algonquian name meaning “the place where people trade” or “the place to where tribute is brought” or “the place where older chiefs become extremely sexually exciting to young squaws.”
2. Gypsies, tramps, and thieves: These are the founding fathers and mothers of Seattle, a city created by greed, avarice, and a lot of profoundly bad decisions. If you are in DC, that same population is making a whole new bunch of profoundly bad decisions and can be found nowadays voting from their seats in Congress. “
3. Tree-hugging, recycling, hemp-wearing, organic, free-range, farm market-buying citizenry means you are in Seattle. You can find these types in the DC area as well, but they usually only come out at night or live in Tacoma Park, MD.
4. Food: In both Seattle and DC, the food choices are varied, are of high quality, and both cities have tons of non-chain restaurants. Seattle is a bit less expensive and more organic. Seattle is also a dream town for breakfast, for non-Starbucks coffee, for fresh salmon, for wine and beer. Seattle is also the best place to gain ten lbs in one week.
5. Attire: If you look around and see people who look like they are unemployed, these are working professionals in Seattle. Employed people in Washington DC, especially on Capitol Hill, are conservatively and importantly attired and if approached will give you their autograph, even if they have arrived just to fix the cable TV.
6. Capitol Hill: The Capitol Hill area of DC is filled with a lot of important people and even more unimportant people whose job is to keep telling the important people how important they are. The Capitol Hill area of Seattle is filled with a lot of counter-culture type folks who frequent stores that specialize in leather undergarments and dog collars. Both Capitol Hills can be scary places for the uninformed.
7. Business cards: Like Kim Jong Il, who has about 1200 titles (including Guardian Diety of the Planet) business cards in Washington DC have a lot of words on them and don’t tell much of anything, like: “Senior Acquisition Management Specialist and Chief Information Officer Global Strategy Initiatives Eastern European Desk.” Business cards in Seattle are few and far between, are printed on recycled stock, and have a mandatory word limit of two, as in “President Microsoft.”
8. Small red flags: The sight of a small red flag in DC usually means you are about to be mowed down by a vast clump of tourists and a screaming tour guide. The same flag in West Seattle means you have the option of plucking one out of a handy basket provided in order to cross the street so that the already extremely polite motorists can be ever-so-much-more-polite when they see the little red flag.
For more tips on DC vs Seattle, and for a day by day menu plan of how to gain 10 lbs in one week in Seattle, send a self-addressed envelope with a lot of cash.